Saturday, December 25, 2010

Back around the middle of April - March, I wondered if this year would ever end.  Now, we are only a week away before the clocks count down to a brand new year!  A lot of changes have taken place, and most of them within the last few weeks.

My sister and her family have moved to Alaska.  Alaska?!  Her youngin's left late Christmas eve and have arrived early Christmas morning.  It'll be a great Christmas for her and the family.

As for me and my family, we'll be spending it gathered around our nearly dried out Christmas tree, eating turkey, ham and some other good eats (hopefully none of which will be dried out).  But it hasn't been all tinsel and glitter this Christmas and I can't really put my finger on why that is; my cousin has a theory about that thought.  He thinks it has something to do with the fact that we haven't hung the lights up outside around the house.  He's said it so frequently that I'm almost ready to believe him.

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I came home from work and found twinkling, bright lights climbing the coconut tree in our front yard, along with Rudolph, Santa in an airplane (why? I don't know), and Frosty lined up along the walkway like it was a Macy's Christmas parade.  Obviously someone had been to Costco and came back with most if not all of their Christmas yard trimmings. 

I guess I just haven't been in a Christmas frame of mind, even with all the colored lights and scented trees, but I am thankful for the blessings in my life: faith, family, friends, work.  So, here's to Christmas: lights, tinsel and great smelling trees, Costco for bringing Christmas to our front yard!  For whatever it means to you and your wishes always; and Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm Still That School House Rock Chick . . .

sometimes people just wanna steal your thunder, you know?!  Now it seems the whole, post-your-favorite-childhood-cartoon-character mania on FB was submitted under false pretenses.  I don't care, cause I'm hanging on to my good intentions and the good intentions of others.  So stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm a School House Rock Chick!

As posted on my FaceBook page . . .

There are nay-sayers who believe that the simple act of pasting the image of a cartoon character is useless and has no meaning; they've posted blogs about our ridiculous "follow-the-leader" mentality. While I've never considered myself a mindless lemming, I thought the idea of profiling a cartoon image from my childhood to bring awareness to child abuse was a great idea, it was simple, easy and something that I (just one person) could do to show my good intentions; not too mention a little walk down memory lane of all the great things I had as a child and the things that helped to shape me as a person. 

So, to all the nay-sayers, I think I can speak for most of us by saying that OUR intent is to bring AWARENESS, if only to ourselves; to bring to the fore front of our minds the hurt and pain of the most unspeakable kind that may have happened to one of us, or someone we know or countless others who have endured or continue to endure abuse of any kind.

Our actions will not change laws or policies, it may not change behavior or erase the memory of the harm caused by others, but yesterday I did nothing.  Today, I posted an image of a cartoon character and searched the internet for other images that reminded me of my childhood -- and that made me smile; I also read a few blogs and comments that said, "Yeah, like this is gonna help end violence against children."

So, people of the FB world make your intentions known . . . have a conversation, post it on your blog, think good thoughts or say a prayer.  Every little bit helps, you know it does.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

An Acceptable Conclusion

This has been a pretty good summer. . . aside from the heat. We've been able to find ways to amuse ourselves; movies, shopping, hanging out with the a/c running (love it!) or going to the beach. Trayse and I headed out to Makaha Beach to cool our heals and just enjoy the day. . . together.

It was the day after the 4th of July and the beach was practically empty! I mean Makaha Beach on a 4 day weekend: no surfers, no canoe paddlers, no boogie boarders. Unheard of!  But I'll take it!  Just a few scattered groups, and with more than enough sandy beach to go around. So, we headed straight for the water, didn't even hesitate. It was cool, refreshing water so clear you could see your feet touching the bottom. There was a lot of floating and drifting going on between the two of us.

Trayse loves the ocean as much as I do. Our swimming abilities are about the same: dog paddle and floating. We both believe we could float on forever if we had to. Luckily no one's ever put that theory to the test.

The hardest part about being at the beach is leaving it . . . or rather getting Trayse to get out of the water. A bit of finagling had to happen; like telling Trayse wouldn't be cool to write her name in the sand? We had to do it a few times, the waves were not cooperating. But we finally got the shot!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"John, leave it alone."

It's not easy letting things go: grudges, heartache, blame, denial, pain, mistakes, failure, insecurities, hate, disappointment, fear, shame, anger, pride, envy . . . the list is endless. We hold onto such things as though it were the driving force of life. We wrap ourselves up in them and find ourselves unwilling to lay aside our burden.

I've hung on to my self-justification for why I stayed mad, for why I couldn't reach my goals, for why I would not put down the burden. This is my personal revelation that the counsel "leave it alone" or "let it go" is often the most difficult to accept or execute, but it really is the only means to find inner peace and acceptance.

It brings to mind the story of a young man who found love, family and a new beginning. When tragedy knocked on his door with the loss of his wife, a new baby girl and a life now as a young, single father he directed his pain and anger toward the doctor who had failed to keep his wife alive. His grief festered and anger began to seep into every crack and crevice of his life.

One night a family friend called on this grieving, heartbroken young father. The words of comfort and counsel from the family friend was this: "John, leave it alone. Nothing you do about it will bring her back. Anything you do will make it worse. John, leave it alone."

The young father struggled with himself. He then decided that whatever else life brought to him, he would heed the counsel he was given.

Now, well into his years, the once heartbroken, young father related this story to a friend. "I was an old man, before I understood it!...I could finally see a poor country doctor--overworked, underpaid run ragged from patient to patient with little medicine, no hospital, few instruments, struggling to save lives, and succeeding for the most part. He had come in a moment of crisis, when two lives hung in the balance, and had acted without delay."

"I was an old man," he repeated, "before I finally understood! I would have ruined my life," he said, "and the lives of others."

Being able to leave it alone, or let it go takes practice and a lot of patience; two attributes that I often lack and need plenty of. But I recognize that it's a process of developing a whole new mindset...getting a better look at the whole picture instead of just snapshots. It can sometimes be a long, hard road before we reach that moment. Experience has shown me how my life becomes entangled when I refuse to leave it alone or let it go and I have felt the calmness in my life when I've chosen to follow John's example.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Witness and a Warning

Nothing good every comes from being awoken from a sound sleep at 3 o'clock in the morning. And the phrase "I have some bad news" or "a tsunami is coming" really puts a strong emphasis on that point. I missed taking early morning shots of everyone milling around up at Makakilo park at 5 in the morning, mostly because I was still so tired and was nearing the ever allusive REM sleep when a knock on my door woke me.

We had set up our little band of tsunami-ites near the bus stop area. Traffic was starting to build as more and more people made their way from the lower shoreline and up the hill. Sitting on blankets that were spread out on the cold grass, I tried to grab a few minutes of sleep. But something about sleeping on the cold, hard ground just wasn't working for me. I remember thinking as I looked out at the homes across the street from the park, "Man are those people going to be surprised when they look out their doors and windows to see all of us sleeping at the park!"

As the early hours weened on, I surveyed my fellow evacuee's; the thought of "displaced refugees" came to mind. It was a cold, silent morning as rows of colored blankets and pillows covered the ground beneath the swings and overflowed onto the playground. You almost didn't notice that there were several families already there because it was so quiet. It made me wonder, if the tsunami does hit, then how long? How long would be here? Days? Weeks? Would they relocate us to a shelter? I tried to calm my mind, keep my thoughts from frantically running away. I kept an eye on the slow rising sun and wondered how the morning would unfold. Breakfast was fast approaching.

As morning gained a foothold on the day, I watched a few more trucks and vans pull up on the grassy area and set up tents and grills. We would all be here for the duration . . . however long that would be. The radio station kept us updated on the tsunami. They had estimated the tsunami's arrival around 11:30 am, it would hit Hilo first and then Oahu. As it neared the arrival time, we all headed up to the back of the park that had an unobstructed view of the ocean.
When the hour arrived and then past, I breathed a sigh of relief. But I still couldn't shake the feeling that this was a warning of "things yet to come". I'm sure there are those who probably saw this whole evacuation event as a waste of time and money, but it's no longer a matter of "if" but "when". It behooves us all to have our house in order, to be prepared. I don't mind telling you that the ordeal has put me in a different frame of mind. I'm not sure what frame of mind that is, but it's not the "let's wait and see".

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Best Kind of Friends . . .

are the ones you didn't realize would become the "best kind of friends." It often surprises me that I know such really great people. For example, I have a great group of friends that I've know since the fourth grade. Granted, and we would all agree, that in the fourth grade we had a different opinion on friendship - and quite possibly on each other. But now, life . . . and our experiences have brought us closer to each other than any of us would have imagined.

 And sometimes, the hardest friends to find, make, and even keep is -- family. With family, we tend to shine the light more glaringly on faults and weaknesses; not to mention the easy access we have to those "emotional buttons" that we are quick to push again and again, and then just because we can -- we push it again. But when the stars align, and all is right with the universe, our greatest asset and our greatest champions and friends will be family.  And sometimes, we count friends as family.

But not all friendships are long-lasting. We find friends in the most unlikely of places and through the most unlikely individuals. They became momentary friends, because they were a friend of a friend. It's the mixture and unusual concoction that created the lasting memories of smiles, laughter and even disbelief that "I know those people" or "I use to hang out there." Look at the smiles on those faces . . . it's true; it's genuine.  No matter the circumstance, or the duration of the time, the outcome was that we've become the best kind of friends.  I must be living under a blessed star!